Global Climate and Energy Sustainability


As mentioned aforehand, energy transitions include energy renewables. Currently, the Department of Defense in the United States is very much involved in renewable energy research programs that include “solar-powered micro-grids, super-strong light nanomaterials, and electric vehicle-to-grid systems” to push for shifts to more sustainable energy (Sheller, 2014). One of the driving premises for energy sustainability seems to be based on attempts at reducing harmful impacts of energy extraction on global climate change (Healy et al., 2019). More specifically, some scholars in the energy field suggest fuel extraction and combustion needs to be modified or completely cease to achieve sustainability (Healy et al., 2019). We cannot ignore the fact that changes in energy sources and the investments in climate change alleviation will inevitably be reflected in market demands related to fossil fuels, mainly at expense of the former (Bauer et al., 2013). Energy sustainability works in tandem with social justice movements and should be addressed as such.

            One other dimension of global climate change and sustainability to address in a COVID-19 and energy essay is the relation of energy demand, consumption, and conservation as related to sustainability and global climate change. As can be predicted or grasped, energy demand is on the rise and consistently suprasses rates of population and economic growth (Scott & Sugg, 2015). As shifts to sustainable and water-powered electric grids rise, addressing water scarcity, demand, consumption, and conservation become prominent priorities (Scott & Sugg, 2015). In more recent years, developments in climate change research, and evaluations of its impacts, have pushed regulatory institutions to take into account financial limitations and rising demands for energy efficiency as related to water scarcity, energy cycles, and their links to climate change (Scott & Sugg, 2015). Discussing the viability of hydro-powered electricity becomes increasingly prominent at the ongoing development of global warming and climate change (Scott & Sugg, 2015).

These prior discussions should also be considered in global crises, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, become more frequent or more intense, or both. Significant to focus on in terms of energy sustainability, efficiency, and management is the availability of renewables and their contribution or impacts on CO2 emissions (Scott & Sugg, 2015). Despite localized shifts to renewables, such as in the Austin (TX) area, fossil fuels seem to continue to dominate the energy market and, from Scott and Sugg (2015)’s predictions, this will remain so for some time. At a time like the current COVID-19 pandemic, some of the questions we are asking related to this sector of the energy field are: What kind of efficiency does energy sustainability yield? What are the tradeoffs of migrating towards energy sustainability?  Who is imagining and planning energy-system adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic in this setting, with what modes of expertise, cut by what vested interests? How are various responses to COVID-19 differentially exacerbating or alleviating the climate and ecological impacts of extant energy systems? How are climate change and other atmospheric currents stressing this site’s energy systems?


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Contributed date

May 20, 2020 - 12:59pm

Critical Commentary

This text discusses the literature at the intersection of global climate, energy sustainability, and the COVID-19 pandemic.